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Get Angels of Mercy: White Women and the History of New York's PDF

By William Seraile

ISBN-10: 0823234193

ISBN-13: 9780823234196

William Seraile uncovers the historical past of the coloured orphan asylum, based in long island urban in 1836 because the nation's first orphanage for African American young ones. it's a striking establishment that continues to be within the leading edge helping young children. even supposing not an orphanage, in its present incarnation as Harlem-Dowling West aspect middle for kids and relatives companies it keeps the foundations of the ladies who equipped it approximately two hundred years ago.

The employer weathered three wars, significant monetary panics, a devastating fireplace throughout the 1863 Draft Riots, numerous epidemics, waves of racial prejudice, and critical monetary problems to take care of orphaned, missed, and antisocial youngsters. ultimately monetary help might come from a few of New York's best households, together with the Jays, Murrays, Roosevelts, Macys, and Astors.While the white woman managers and their male advisers have been devoted to uplifting those black young ones, the evangelical, customarily Quaker founding managers additionally exhibited the extraordinary paternalistic perspectives endemic on the time, accepting the recommendation or aid of the African American group purely grudgingly. It used to be frank feedback in 1913 from W. E. B. Du Bois that highlighted the clash among the orphanage and the neighborhood it served, and it wasn't till 1939 that it employed the 1st black trustee.

More than 15,000 teenagers have been raised within the orphanage, and all through its historical past letters and visits have published that 1000s if no longer hundreds of thousands of outdated boys and girlslooked again with admiration and admire on the domestic that nurtured them all through their formative years.

Weaving jointly African American heritage with a distinct background of latest York urban, this isn't basically a painstaking learn of a formerly unsung establishment of black history yet a different window onto advanced racial dynamics in the course of a interval while many did not realize equality between all electorate as a beneficial objective.

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Extra resources for Angels of Mercy: White Women and the History of New York's Colored Orphan Asylum (Empire State Editions)

Sample text

Mrs. 17 The COA’s mission was the admission of children of color, but while they admitted biracial children, they were perplexed by the admission of Jane Guise, who was placed in the institution at age three by her mother. By age five, the child’s complexion was indistinguishable from that of a white person. Since she possessed no visible African features ‘‘which could prevent her enjoying the privileges afforded to the white population,’’ the managers wanted to send her to a white 18 | t he ea rl y y ea rs , 1 83 6 – 42 orphanage.

Tis their songs [angels] so sweet and clear— I think I hear them softly say dear children stay no longer here; come, come with us, we’ll lead the way. It must be heaven where they dwell—22 Annual reports provided narrative and statistical descriptions of diseases that kept the physician and nursing staff busy, often to the point of exhaustion and risk to their own health. The thirteenth annual report (November 15, 1849) was the first one to list all diseases and deaths by type and gender. 23 The managers’ motivation to care for as many children as space permitted led to the admission of some who were sickly.

Winter storms brought endless mud, which forced the managers to place large stones in the road in order to cross Fifth Avenue. An advantage was the availability of water from the Croton Reservoir (the site of the present-day New York Public Library), located a block away. The new two-story building provided space for play rooms, coal and vegetable bins, a kitchen, dining room, bathing room, two infirmaries, and school rooms. The dining room, one of the infirmaries, and one of the school rooms were heated by hot water running through iron pipes.

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Angels of Mercy: White Women and the History of New York's Colored Orphan Asylum (Empire State Editions) by William Seraile


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